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OpenNotes Movement Gets $10M in Funding for Expansion

December 15, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Continuing the progress of the OpenNotes movement, four institutions have jointly announced $10 million in new funding to spread access to clinical notes to 50 million patients nationwide.

The practice of sharing visit notes more readily began with the OpenNotes yearlong pilot in 2010. At the end of a year, those who read their notes reported feeling more in control of their care and having better recall, knowledge and understanding of their medical conditions. Ninety-nine percent of patients wanted the practice to continue, and all participating doctors chose to keep their notes open after the study ended. Over time, researchers have continued to find benefits in providers sharing notes with their patients.

What’s more, the OpenNotes movement has spread well beyond primary care to more than 5 million Americans. In the three years since the pilot results were reported, the OpenNotes movement has been adopted by major medical systems nationwide and within geographic regions, such as Oregon and southwest Washington.

Now, new funding from four organizations— Cambia Health Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—will support OpenNotes’ ability to assist providers with adoption, to reach a wide range of consumers, and to evaluate the impact of the effort on health outcomes and costs. OpenNotes will work with a broadly representative advisory board to target healthcare organizations and consumer advocacy groups, and also individual clinicians and consumers. By expanding the scope of the OpenNotes project, the four national philanthropies funding the program are asserting that this innovation in the delivery of care, if spread nationwide, can improve the U.S. healthcare system’s performance, officials said in a statement.

“Our research shows increasingly that patients can benefit greatly from reading the notes taken during a medical visit. They tell us they feel more in control of their care and are more likely to follow up on recommendations,” Jan Walker, R.N., co-founder of OpenNotes and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), said in a statement. “This has enormous implications for improving the quality and costs of care. Moreover, we’re learning that having a second set of eyes on the record may be an important way to improve patient safety.

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